Balance Hero


= Someone who cares for others before themselves.

VeDA's Balance Hero Program recognizes people who have gone above and beyond in supporting and assisting vestibular patients as they struggle to adapt to the limitations imposed by their chronic symptoms.

The vestibular community is full of caring, dedicated, and innovative individuals who consistently go above and beyond to support those suffering with vestibular dysfunction. VeDA's Balance Hero program shines a spotlight on these individuals and their stories.

Balance Heros include but not limited to family members, supportive friends, coworkers, patients, caregivers, or healthcare providers. 

2022 winners

John D. During a very long year of auto immune response to the Covid booster, John helped heal my brain from the vertigo/menieres cycle that would just not go away. He listened to me, understood the problem was real and understood the vestibular challenges thoroughly. An amazing practictioner in the field of physical therapy and I am so grateful for his help, knowledge and understanding as well as his staff at Prospect Rehabilitation, Manchester VT - Jennifer T.

Sean S. Sean has single handedly taken care of our home, our kids, and my recovery from transmastoid resurfacing of my right semi circular canal. On top of this, he has handled preparing for holidays. Less than 2 weeks after my surgery, our 4yr old golden retriever lost her battle to lymphoma and he's been so understanding while I've been resting from surgery. - Natalie S.

Mary Kathryn C. I am a 100% Disabled Viet Nam Veteran. In 2018 I suffered from Vertigo because the varicella zoster virus (VZV) was attacking my right eye and my right vestibular system. I had unpredictable vertigo episodes so pronounced that the only safe place for me was in bed, sometimes for 24+ hours. These vertigo episodes lasted over three years while I was being treated with Valacyclovir or Valtrex. I could not hear in my left ear since I came home from Vietnam in 1970; however, the VZV made what hearing I had in my right ear unintelligible. Consequently, I could not communicate over the phone or otherwise. Mary Kathryn arranged for and drove me to my doctors' appointments. There were over 200 appointments over this period of time, some a distance of 150 miles. I could not go to the store by myself, I could not do anything by myself, I could not communicate over the phone to do any kind of personal business. Mary Kathryn did it all for me. This year the vertigo episodes ceased. My Ophthalmologist said the VZV was in remission and that there was no sign of it in my eye. Mary Kathryn was so good to and for me that I married her on November 1, 2022. - John C.

Kyle Ann M. Kyle Ann listened and was sympathetic to my symptoms and advised me on an aggressive path to treatment. Her explanation of Vestibular Migraines/Disorders was exactly what my search for answers needed. 18 month journey to mantra "Health is my Wealth" and spending thousands of dollars, PA Markwell is treating me and responsive to my triggers and making those adjustments. While still not clear of symptoms, She represents my VeDA Hero and I imagine for many others. - Brian F.

Tressa C. I am nominating Tessa to be a VeDA Hero because of her dedication, care, sympathy, and support she shows to her patients. When I suffered from my vestibular disorder she not only helped me to recover in the acute phase, but in the long term too. She was always there for me when I struggled but also helped push me out of my comfort zone. I went from using a walker with no balance to now being able to live a somewhat normal life and I don't know if I would be where I am today with my balance if it weren't for her guidance, knowledge, and support. She is an incredible person who deserves to be awarded the Balance Hero. She dedicated and continues to dedicate her studies and life to help people who suffer with vestibular disorders and I am so grateful for her. She always goes above and beyond to help and support her patients and deserves to be recognised for the work she does, the kindness and compassion she shows, and for the amazing person she is. - Emily G.

Danette P. Danette has always been accepting of days when I have Menieres symptoms and need to be in the bed or recliner and rest. She listens patiently and compassionately as I complain of feeling wonky and about ear pressure and experience the clumsiness of imbalance. She is never complaining. about my limitations. Danette accepts me just as I am and is loving and compassionate. - Sue Y.

Tom C. While visiting Glacier National Park and riding in a tour van, 20 miles away from our oun car, I experienced the most violent episode ever. The vertigo was so bad that I couldn't hold up my head to throw up or walk. He quickly realized we had to get off the van even though we had no other way back to our car. He carried me off the van and sat beside me on the grass in the 45 degree weather. He was able to arrange for a Ranger to carry us back down the mountain while he held my head in place. He never complains when I can't walk and need help getting to bathroom even as I am throwing up on him. He is my true Hero! Without him I would have jumped off that mountain. - Kim C.

Michael M. My husband is always present to do what ever I need with my chronic illnesses. He works hard to meet every need I might have. - Ann M.

Michael K. Michael is always there ready to catch me. He makes sure that I get enough rest, and is the voice of reason when I am pushing myself too hard or get angry at my limitations. Michael was my biggest advocate while I was in labour with our son. He made sure the doctors and nurses understood my vestibular condition. Michael is my balance hero. - Krista K.

Joe M. I nominate my husband, Joe, who automatically reaches for the TV remote to turn down the sound when I enter the room, who handles everything for me on the bad days, and who makes sure I know that despite the worst of my symptoms, everything will be okay. - Amy P.

Steven H. My husband, 81 year old Steven, has gone above and beyond in supporting me and being instrumental in helping me regain my life after multiple major vestibular attacks. He helped me walk for the first 6 months after the latest attack and is always there to lend his arm. He never became frustrated with my inability to lead a normal life and I wouldn't be as mobile and functioning without him at my side. He made the journey much less scary and encouraged me at all times. - Mary G.

Bridgett W. Bridgett owns 360 Balance in Austin Texas. I have been her patient for 15+ years. I suffered from vertigo for a couple of years before I was finally referred to Bridgett. In a couple of months she worked miracles getting severe BPPV (in multiple canals) straightened up, identified my condition as vestibular migraines and worked up a long term therapy plan. Although I have had repeat episodes, I can always count on 360 and Bridgett to see me quickly and help get things straightened out and back on track. After a particularly difficult episode a couple of years ago, Bridgett skipped lunch to work me in and spent over an hour with me going over detailed descriptions of what was going on, various therapies I could try, and was amazingly caring and concerned. In addition, over the years, she has trained many physical therapists in dizziness/vertigo treatment, and is the strongest most reliable venue for careful thorough training in the PT arena, understanding nuances of nystagmus and watching for seemingly minor but significant symptoms. The whole 360 crew, led by Bridgett have really been angels in my life. When there was total despair or panic related to vertigo, it is an enormous comfort and relief to know that there is help available. Bridgett is a deeply compassionate and focused individual, always putting the patient first with a positive and caring attitude. She should be queen of the vestibular world! - Dineen W.

Kiersten J. Stayed by my side to center me with respect, encouragement, and a smile. - Trish J.

William A. My husband has stood next to me being my support, literally, for 15-1/2 years while I negotiate the vestibular universe that I have been living in. He's been my shoulder to cry on, my driver to all my Doctor appointments now and years earlier while I struggled to find a diagnosis, my therapist as I cry, rant and accept the new life I am living in my body, as well as my cheerleader being proud of my accomplishments like continuing to work with restrictions (even driving back and forth to work when it's dark and raining which is difficult for me). He continues to do this while still being a fantastic husband, father and grandfather to all of us. I would be lost without having him by my side. - Vicki A.

Don and Glenda B., and Jeff P. I nominate Mr. & Mrs. Don and Glenda B. and my husband, Jeff P. as awesome Superheros!!!!!! The beginning of my story started on vacation. We did Mount Saint Helen and Mount Rainier the same day. I woke up the next morning (May 10, 2023) with everything spinning, I had severe altitude sickness, vertigo and dehydration. I couldn't walk without bumping into everything. I passed out 15 times in an 8 hour period and threw up constantly. These friends that are as close as family took exceptional care of me. We got on the cruise ship as all this was happening to me and went to Alaska. They pushed me around in a wheelchair and made our 30th wedding anniversary trip one we will never forget. If it weren't for them I wouldn't have seen beautiful Alaska. It's been 6 months now and even though we live in different states they still check on me often and pray for me. To say I'm grateful is an understatement. I love them and appreciate their constant care and concern for me. - Nadeen P.

Natasha S. Natasha traveled recently with me to Egypt. We were gone for two long weeks as part of an excursion around that marvelous country. The days were intense because there were many sites to visit, the temperature was high and moving around included buses and boats. Every day we went into tunnels and shafts in the pyramids and other temples. We climbed stairs to get to the apex of various of them and we also participated in night excursions. Natasha is my sister and she is familiar with my vestibular issue (PPPD), however, she has not spent two weeks straight alone with me. She patiently cared for me, interpreted a lot of the lectures and information given (I am deaf in one ear), and served as support when my balance started to fail. Without her, my dream of going to Egypt wouldn't have happened. I am grateful for her loving support during our adventure. I love her infinitely! - Sandra R.

Brenda H. Drives me everywhere & prepares all meals. - David H.

Karen P. Karen has been my BPPV physical therapist for fifteen years. When I have had an episode and cannot correct my crystals myself, Karen has given up her lunch hour to see me. Just knowing she is there with her calm knowledge and procedures helps me reboot my vestibular brain. - Kathleen M.

Sarah S. After months of dizziness, I was referred to highly regarded PTs at Core Balance in Kalamazoo Michigan. Dr. Sarah was very caring, empathetic, and professional. She identified that I had crystals in two different canals and resolved those problems over 3 PT sessions. I can't thank her and Core Balance enough! - Al K.

Portia P. Helped me more with physical therapy as a vestibular specialist, balance and dizziness specialist than ENT!!!!!!!!!!! She is professional, caring, helpful, kind, empathetic, knowledgeable, and much more!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so grateful. She is amazing and a great coach! - Cindy S.

Loree S. She is just the best! Always encouraging and being positive with a tough situation. This invisible affliction is not easy but she makes each day better! - Greg S.

Evan M. I am nominating Evan, my Vestibular Physical therapist because he is everything a vestibular patient hopes for in a provider. After 15 doctors, 9 misdiagnosis, and 3.5 years of struggle, Evan was the one who listened and finally got me the help and correct diagnosis that I yearned for since my symptoms began. He constantly educated himself in the field, participates with VeDA , has experienced vertigo himself. He cares, he is knowledgeable, and most important the only doctor who looked past my anxiety and still gave me the opportunity to have testing done that every vestibular patient is entitled to. I truly believe that if there were a thousand Evans in this world, we would all be so much better off. He gave me my life back. He caught for me. He listened and advocated. He Handed my life back to me with all the confidence in the World. He is the reason I became a VeDA ambassador!!! He is the definition of a Balance Hero! Not just for myself but for so many others! Thank you. - Marci T.

Dr. Beh Dr. Beh listens to his patients & never rushes them. He allows his patients to ask questions & express their concerns. During my first appointment with Dr. Beh, I felt like someone finally heard me as he took the time to listen to me discuss my history & current symptoms. He let me play a role in my treatment plan by providing options & letting me choose what medication I'd like to try. My choice to see Dr. Beh after just over five months of disabling vestibular symptoms was the best choice I made & finally led me on my path to recovery! Thank you, Dr. Beh! - Tiffany K.

Maria H. Maria is my wife and we have been together for 15 years. My chronic illness started almost 4 years ago so this is not what Maria and I expected in our life together. But Maria has been with me through it all and continues to be my biggest supporter. I am so blessed to have her by my side. - Laura K.

Donielle B. It took me several years to find Donielle, someone who works in the vestibular therapy field. Two years ago I stumbled into her office where she assessed me and started working with me. I couldn't focus on her and felt claustrophobic as she sat nearby taking my information. I almost had her sitting just outside of the doorway to her office to keep the dizzies from stirring up even more. Donielle worked hard with me and my dizzies. I have VM and she said I could have 3PD, and she was correct. I am beyond fortunate to have found Donielle. Even though it takes one hour each way to see her, I am beyond thankful to have her as a part of my team. Knowing that she has worked with the Marines and soldiers at Walter Reed with their brain injuries, I knew I had found the right person to get me on the road to live with VM and 3PD. - Patricia N.

Get 2023 Balance Hero Updates

As 2023 Balance Hero gets closer, updates about the event will be published here. To make sure you are always up to date on Balance Hero and all things vestibular, you can subscribe to V-News, our monthly e-newsletter.